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Maryland transportation secretary pulls graphic after swastika comparison

The Maryland Department of Transportation removed a brochure from its website Thursday after several people pointed out that it contained a graphic that resembled a swastika.

"It was an unintentional mistake that has been corrected,” Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn said in a statement.

“A team member was using traffic jam clip art that is on numerous websites and did not recognize its resemblance to an offensive symbol,” said Rahn. “I apologize to anyone who was offended."

MDOT provided a sample of a similar graphic from shutterstock.com.

The brochure, part of an update to the Maryland Transportation Plan, laid out various transportation-related statistics for the state, including numbers on congestion. The graphic featured intersecting gray roads that some interpreted as resembling the Nazi symbol.

“Of course it looks like a swastika,” said David Lublin, a professor with American University who posted a photo of the image on his blog, which chronicles Maryland politics.

But Lublin said he wasn’t offended by the image, assuming it was just a “brainfart.” MDOT has “flubbed a lot” over the years, he said.

“There’s enough hate in the world without us searching out for it,” he said.

Baltimore Sun reporter Erin Cox contributed to this story.

ctkacik@baltsun.com

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